As Uganda prepares to settle its side of the bargain in time for the global digital switch-off of 2015, a plethora of Pay TV channels, existing and emerging, are spoiling for cut-throat competition, spiced with catchy ads in form of promotions to amass more followers.
Data from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) reveals that winners of the advertisement game have already began to emerge with StarTimes, a latter-day comer into the larger East Africa region leading with 130000 new users, with long-time favorites like Multichoice, which operates DsTV and GOtv amassing a hundred thousand.
Though the results are of 2012, a year when StarTimes entered the market with marketing vigor, the stage is set for more stiff business rivalry this year as DsTV has already set aside Ush110m to cater for its new promo that will last for two months, with regular winners in the offing.
Inside Pay TV in Uganda
Uganda currently has over eight satellite television decoder companies, the largest of which being Multichoice.
There have been rise-and-fall contests in the Pay TV milieu in Uganda, with the most recent casualty being GTV, a company from Britain that had also been operating in neighboring Kenya. It went under in late 2011 even after having amassed fifty thousand subscribers in Uganda, where it began operations in 2008.
In July 2011, Wananchi Satellite Ltd offered ex-GOtv subscribers a chance to swap their decoding equipment with that of the satellite company’s Zuku TV to the effect that they would perpetuate their subscription regimen, as before, but only pay fees for the initial month to Zuku.
Zuku TV entered with aplomb into the Uganda scene with the support of Wananchi Group which sourced content from within the country and the EAC bloc. Apparently, Zuku TV generates and purchases material for its programming within the country.
In a trend that encompasses East Africa as a whole, Smart TV has also entered into the lucrative satellite television market and is already enjoying a substantial subscriber base.
Uganda had set its kaleidoscope on becoming the first African country to reach the digital age by offering set-top boxes at throw-away costs, but did not manage to bring the curtain to a close on the EAC December 31 D-day.